I have nothing against Father’s Day. My family just never had the practice of celebrating it—along with other occasions like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
Maybe it was because my parents were not the sentimental sort. The most we did was to attend the big, extended-family dinners my uncles or aunties would throw for my grandfathers on both sides. But with my dad, we never did anything special. No fancy dinner, no expensive gifts, no warm and fuzzy family photo.
If anyone asked, we would just say, “Nah, it’s just a commercial gimmick.” After all, we didn’t need to wait for an occasion to have a nice dinner together; if we wanted to, we just had one. And the same applied to the giving of gifts. My dad gave us gifts whenever he felt like it. So birthdays were never much of a deal in my family, either. And we were all happy with the way things were.
Perhaps that was a blessing in disguise. I have hardly gotten emotional during Father’s Day in the past four years since my dad passed on suddenly after a massive stroke. Sure, the banners and electronic displays screaming “Father’s Day Lunch Promotion”, “Father’s Day Discount”, or “Father’s Day Gift Ideas” trigger memories of my dad, but they don’t choke me up with emotion. And I’m thankful for that. I miss my dad enough, so I don’t need another occasion to get me all weepy.
You may identify with my situation. Maybe your family just doesn’t have the practice of celebrating Father’s day, or you lost your dad some time ago. Perhaps your dad has been absent in your life, or is an abusive and irresponsible figure you want nothing to do with. Perhaps Father’s Day brings you more pain and frustration than any other day, and you cringe at the mere mention of it.
Whatever your reasons for not celebrating Father’s Day, here’s what I’d like to say: You’re not alone. I know, I know, it’s clichéd—but it’s true. And it’s not because there are other people out there who are in the same boat as you. No matter how similar our circumstances may be, each of them is unique. No one can fully empathize with what you’ve been through, even your own family members. But one person can and that’s all that matters.
Mourning over the loss of my beloved father brought me closer to God than ever before. I remember nights where I wished my dad were still around so I could tell him about all that had happened during the day. But I couldn’t, so I told it to God instead. And then there were other times I would find myself tearing over a memory of my dad triggered by something—a dream, a place, or an item—and I would end up pouring my feelings to God. Each time, God never failed to comfort me with the reminder that my dad was safe in His arms, in a much better place.
Over time, I realized that what my earthly father had shown me was a glimpse of how wonderful and good my heavenly Father is. My father’s generosity, his gentle disposition, and his protective nature—God was all these and more. Regardless of how our fathers have been or are like, let’s take comfort in the ever-abiding presence of our ultimate father, God Himself. He’s the father who will never leave, disappoint, or abandon us.